Puerto Rico Travel Guide
Celebrity Chefs / Hotel News / Hotel Restaurants / Alain Ducasse / W Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / → All Tags
We remember when the W Vieques opened in 2010, we were swept up in the hype. Here was this slick newjack busting in on a sleepy Puerto Rican isle that no one outside the armed forces had heard of. This island was the bomb, literally.
So, we watched with interest, especially when we found out they were bringing in chef extraordinaire Alain Ducasse to helm their restaurant called miX. Soon it seemed like everyone was heading to the W Vieques in droves. It was the “it spot”, indeed.
Fast forward to this past June when we visited in person. On the way to the “retreat” (they don’t use the word “hotel”) we heard some bad news. Ducasse had pulled out of the restaurant just weeks earlier! Yikes. We didn’t want that piece of gossip to taint our experience, but when we ate at miX, we had, well, mixed feelings.
The pumpkin veloute at a hefty $15 a bowl, was a watery disappointment. The description of the gambas (shrimp) mofongo with pork cracklings and sofrito sounded so good, we thought tasting it would make you want to slap your mother. Instead, it only made drink a ton of water it was so salty. But we kept picking at it, because hell, it was mofongo! And like pizza, even bad mofongo can be good mofongo, especially when you’ve had a few mango mojitos at WET bar. Which we did. And those drinks were on point! And the lunchtime ceviche was good too.
Anyhoo, regarding a replacement for Ducasse, reps for the W responded to an email saying they "don't have a statement ready yet, but we should have something soon."
Say 'hola' to free WiFi!
Hyatt is planning a new 156-room Hyatt Place to open in the city of Bayamon, 15 miles southwest of San Juan. The brand hasn't introduced any new properties to the country since Hacienda Del Mar opened in 2005 in Dorado, and while that one aims for an affordable resort-type experience (think poolside cocktails, easy beach access, rooms with balconies), Hyatt Place instead appeals to business travelers on a budget—and who are looking to have a little fun at the end of the workday.
In addition to all the regular Hyatt Place amenities (free WiFi, remote printing, nifty plug panel outlets), the seven-story Hyatt Place Bayamon will neighbor El Tropical Casino. Dangerous business when you go to a beautiful place like Puerto Rico but the hotel isn't on a beach so you just spend your time in the casino. Luckily, a 45-acre park sits right next to the property, so you'll at least be able to get your nature groove on there.
The Bachelor Hotels / Reality TV Hotels / W Hotels / Puerto Rico Hotels / Celebrity Scoop / Hotel News / → All Tags
Once again, the liquored up cast and the vodka-supplying crew of ABC's The Bachelor have flown off to a tropical island for some dates so the bachelor/wannabe actor, Ben Flajnik, can sweep the contending ladies off their feet. Or at least make out with a few of them before asking one of them for her hand in marriage a few days later. How romantic!
The Bachelor is filming at W Vieques. The are clearing out Living Room (lobby) for the Rose Ceremony tomorrow night. Guests will be hosted for cocktails on the beach at the Retreat – since they won’t be able to go in Living Room. Picture of the equipment attached. They were filming a helicopter scene…..it took off right over the hotel….
Here's some exciting news in New Hotel Brand Land. The second of the Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties has just been announced. It's the Ritz-Carlton Reserve Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico and it's scheduled to open in December 2012.
The Ritz-Carlton Reserve is just one part of the Dorado Beach renovation--it also includes residences and a plumped-up, sparkling new set of amenities such as golf courses, a beach club, spa and nature trail. A 'Wind and Waves' center will include Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment, the program that provides hands-on eco-adventures for kids and adults of all ages. In other words, you can take the kids, put them in Dorado Beach's 'forest classroom' and then hit the pool or bar.
The hotel itself will have 100 guestrooms and 14 one-bedroom suites. Then there's Su Casa, the original 1920s-style hacienda that is being transformed into a new five-bedroom, beachfront VIP villa.
We're sorry to ruin your Friday with this story about an outrageously expensive hotel fee but we feel you just had to know, especially if you were considering booking a stay at the St. Regis Bahia Bahia in Puerto Rico.
A prospective guest and tipster emailed us the description of the $60 resort fee which is found on the hotel's website:
Guest will be charged $60 USD daily for a resort charge inclusive of tax. This includes: toll-free and local phone calls, high-speed wireless Internet access in public areas and guest rooms, a welcome cocktail amenity in each room upon arrival, beach and pool services including beach umbrellas, ice cold water “spritzing”, frozen grapes, electronic books and I-pods (based upon availability), fresh-fruit bites, unlimited use of all non-motorized water sports and snorkeling equipment exclusively at the Boat House, bicycles (based upon availability), tennis center/courts day and night (equipment available at no additional cost), and use of our golf course driving range.
That's because the W Retreat & Spa, Vieques is hosting its own short film festival from May 13–15. W Happenings Presents: Out On Film will feature screenings of award-winning gay and lesbian short flicks--and parties to go with them, natch.
The resort partnered with The Puerto Rico Film Foundation and CineFiesta, the Puerto Rico International Short Film Festival, on this latest artsy endeavor, emphasizing the laidback, creative vibe the island of Vieques seems so infused with.
Nothing makes our hearts beat faster than the words “free stay”, so we were over the moon when a press release popped into our inbox today promising a free night at the sexy and, more importantly, sunny, W Vieques Retreat and Spa in Puerto Rico for anyone who stayed a night at any W hotel in North America during the month of February.
There must be a catch, right? Well, yes. But, if you’re traveling this month anyway, and also in the mood for a tropical vacation before the end of the year, it could still save you a lot of money.
Basically, as above, staying any one night at any W hotel in North America will qualify you for a free night (or two) at Vieques.
Here’s the catch, though – you need to book a three night stay at the W Vieques in order to qualify for that free night. So it becomes a buy three, get one free, deal. Stay three nights, and you stay a fourth free. Pay for six nights, and you stay eight (two free nights is the limit). And you need to book it by 15 March, for a stay before 31 October (to book, W will send you an email following your US stay – you just click the link).
Hotels with great art collections is nothing new. (Although, we still love it, of course.) But we were intrigued to hear about the new art program launching at the W Retreat and Spa, Vieques this month: Artist in Residence.
Vieques has attracted artists for some time, what with its laidback vibe and gorgeous setting and all, so W has decided to play up to this reputation and invite artists to stay at the property throughout the year. (We know, right? Where did we put that easel again?)
If you're in the Northeast, there's no denying it: Fall is here. But instead of letting it get us down, we're trying to look on the bright side. And that bright side is looking an awful lot like Puerto Rico, thanks to Hilton Hotels' Fall Getaways deals.
Available at four luxury properties--El Conquistador Resort, Las Casitas Resort, El San Juan Hotel & Casino and Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza--the promotion includes affordable rates, third nights free, and discounts at the hotels' spas and restaurants.
A few years ago Thompson Hotels was rumored to be working on a Puerto Rico project with hotelier Jason Pomeranc slipping to Travel + Leisure that plans were in the works. But we haven't heard anything about this hotel for quite sometime. Until yesterday.
A reader emailed us about the renderings on the Studio Gaia website which we wrote up last March. (This is the same design firm where we found the renderings for Thompson Toronto as well.) So we decided we should probably check in on this hotel again.
Sadly, there's no good news here. The Thompson San Juan is not happening anytime soon according to our sources. There was a possibility of opening in San Juan, but the property never became available.
Last week we were salivating over Hotel Barbecues, and you know what? It's still hot, it's still summer, and barbecues are still on our minds. We're particularly entranced by the sound of the ones taking places at The W Retreat & Spa Vieques.
Down in Vieques the miX on the beach team just introduced the Fondita Del Lechòn, a weekly event blending Puerto Rican dishes with char-grilled BBQ goodness. Held every Wednesday, from 6:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. on the W Café deck, it costs $25 per guest, with sangria, local beer and house wine all $5 each.
The biggest change is the newly instituted daily resort fee. The fee is 14 percent of the room rate. That means if you get a $159 garden double room, the resort fee is $22.26; a $219 city-vista room carries a $30.66 fee. But you don't get much for it. The fee covers daily live entertainment, fitness center access and poolside activities.